Menzies trains nutritionists from Timor Leste in Central Australia

In May 2012, a team of five nutritionists from Timor Leste arrived in Alice Springs to undertake an AusAID Australian Leadership Awards (ALA) Fellowship program through Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies).

Participants and program staff in Central Australia for the joint Royal Darwin Hospital and Menzies two-week nutrition knowledge exchange

The Fellows participated in a five-day clinical nutrition placement at the Alice Springs Hospital, during which they gained insight into the hospital clinical nutrition services available and engaged in a knowledge exchange with hospital dietitians.

The following week the Fellows joined seven health and community workers from the Northern Territory for the pilot of the Nutrition for adolescent girls and women throughout the lifecycle module of the short Nutrition and Food Security course ‘Approaches to improving the health of women and children’.

During this module participants gained an in-depth knowledge of the key messages for good nutrition for adolescent girls and women throughout the lifecycle, as well as the evidence to support these messages. 

Learnings were reinforced through games, activities and role plays and participants were encouraged to share their knowledge and experiences with their colleagues.

Field visits to the Alukura (a women's health and maternal and child health care centre), the Young Men’s Community Health Education Program and Ampe Akweke Place Safe House provided participants with the opportunity to observe the module learnings in practice.

The visits also allowed participants to gain an understanding of culturally appropriate ways to promote short- and long-term health.

Contextually-appropriate approaches to improving nutrition for adolescent girls and women throughout the lifecycle were discussed, and participants developed action plans detailing how they will apply the knowledge they gained in this module in their workplaces.

These action plans will provide the basis for the mentoring and support Menzies will offer participants and their organisations over the coming weeks and months.

The visit to Australia was reported by the Fellows to be highly beneficial. “It’s been a great experience to come to Australia,” noted one Fellow. “We can implement these learnings in Timor now.”